viernes, 9 de marzo de 2012

No es Romney, es el cambio de reglas

National Journal:
But just four years ago, another Republican moderate faced very similar problems as Romney, without getting nearly the amount of grief: John McCain. As this election's establishment candidate, Romney's performance has been remarkably similar to McCain, who had locked up the nomination at this time four years ago.

All told, Romney has won a larger share of the vote than McCain in 14 of the 22 states that have held binding primaries or caucuses so far. McCain has only performed better in eight (South Carolina, Georgia, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Ohio/Vermont/Idaho - which held their primaries after McCain locked up the nomination). Romney ran well ahead of McCain in Florida (46 percent to 36 percent), Iowa (25 to 13 percent), Michigan (41 to 30 percent), New Hampshire (39 to 37 percent) and even out-tallied McCain in the senator's home state of Arizona (47.27 percent to 47.17 percent).

Like Romney, McCain didn't win a single Southern state on Super Tuesday, losing them all to Mike Huckabee.

I don't remember all that much grumbling, post-Super Tuesday 2008, of how weak a nominee John McCain was, even though he faced the same dynamic that's plaguing Romney - winning over the establishment, but struggling with the most conservative voters. If anything, that's even more animated this election cycle, with an ascendant and outspoken base dogging the frontrunner.

In reality, the main reason why Romney doesn't have this nomination close to locked up is because of the changed rules governing the nomination battle. Most states are awarding their delegates proportionally, rather than the winner-take-all system that most states adopted in the 2008 presidential contests. Even if Romney won every state so far, he'd still be far short of the 1,140 delegates necessary to officially clinch the nomination.

That's little consolation for the Romney campaign, which isn't expecting to wrap things up until the spring. But it should give some much-needed perspective to much of the commentariat, which is treating Romney's campaign as a historic failure. In reality, he's doing about as well as the Republican candidate with all the momentum at this time four years ago.